Thursday, December 28, 2017

Murder in Ordinary Time: Review

Sister Carol Anne O'Marie's Murder in Ordinary Time had me fooled and I hadn't even plunged into the mystery yet. I was lining up Christmas-themed books to read for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge and I had marked this one as "Christmas" when I originally logged it on Goodreads. It's not. But why did I think so?'s got a pine tree branch with a Christmas bulb or two and a plate of cookies with a bright red bow on the front. And the back cover mentions that Christina Kelly, Channel 5's investigative reporter falls over dead after eating a bite of Christmas cookie. So...what else was I supposed to think?

Obviously that it all takes place in January, because that's what "Ordinary Time" means on the Catholic calendar--that quiet season when there are no holy days to be observed. My Protestant background didn't help me with that bit of knowledge.

So...Sister Mary Helen, the intrepid nun who manages to get herself mixed up in murders more often than Inspector Kate Murphy and her partner Inspector Dennis Gallagher would like, finds herself in the middle of another one. The good Sister is invited to appear on the local news for an interview to coincide with the trial of Tony Costa--a man whose capture Sister Mary Helen played a small part. She is preparing her nerves for her television appearance, but before Christina can begin the interview, she collapses with the smell of bitter almonds on her breath. 

There is some question about whether Christina was the intended victim. It's possible that she was the target of the cyanide-laced cookies because of one of her investigations. But the cookies had been placed on a chair that belonged to another member of the news crew--Christina had only been swapped into that place at the last moment. Were the cookies meant for her colleague? Or maybe they were meant to be shared with their special guest. Sister Mary Helen has been instrumental in the arrests of several people and perhaps someone wanted revenge. Together, Sister Mary Helen and her two friendly Inspectors will solve another mystery.

This was a fun, very cozy mystery that was just perfect for the hectic time that is late November and early December. I hadn't read a Sister Mary Helen mystery for a long time and I enjoyed get to know her again. The mystery isn't very intricate, so if you're looking for dozens of clues--real and false, oodles of suspects, and lots of red herrings then this isn't the book for you. If want to settle down with a bit of light mystery entertainment, then this just might be what the doctor ordered. ★★

(Actually finished on 11/29/17...still catching up on my reviews.)

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